Warner Brothers recently released its latest installment in the Harry Potter franchise: “Fantastic Beasts 3: The Secrets of Dumbledore.” However, there were a few key lines left out of the Chinese version of the film. According to Variety, Warner Brothers edited out some dialogue that referenced a gay relationship between two main characters at the request of the Chinese. Warner Brothers is only the latest big Hollywood studio to follow in Disney’s footsteps and concede to China’s censorship demands.
Warner Brothers claims that although they edited out the dialogue, the “spirit of the film” remains, but this seems like a sorry excuse. If they’re so concerned about the “spirit of the film” and supporting gay rights, then why would they agree to censor any mention of a gay relationship in the first place? Warner Brothers only cares about the spirit of the film so long as they can profit from it because Hollywood values its lucrative deals with China more than it values its principles.
Only a few weeks ago, Hollywood’s biggest stars gathered for the Oscars and used the event as an opportunity to virtue signal their opposition to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. A bill that, in reality, has nothing to do with gay rights and simply prevents teachers from speaking with very young students about sexuality and then hiding it from their parents.
The Florida bill was in no way harmful to gay people, but that didn’t stop Oscars host Amy Schumer—along with fellow actresses Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall—from standing on the stage and shouting “gay” at the top of their lungs in protest. Now, Warner Brothers is literally refusing to say “gay” in China. Will any of these same stars protest the move or will they avoid the issue because they too want their films to profit from a Chinese audience?
If Hollywood cared about principles at all, then they wouldn’t do so much business with China in the first place. After all, China is a brutally repressive regime that forces Uyghur muslims into concentration camps, sterilizes women, and locks its own citizens in their homes for weeks on end. Despite all of these glaring human rights abuses, major studios like Warner Brothers and Disney continue to do business in China.
Hollywood is all about standing up for its principles until those principles begin to negatively affect their bottom lines, at which point they’ll turn into stunning hypocrites while still upholding themselves as the highest of moral arbiters.